Texas Medical Center

Houston, Texas Wayfinding Program Makes Sense of World’s Largest Medical Center

Texas Medical Center

With more than 50 member institutions located on a densely developed 1300-acre site, the TMC is the world’s largest medical center. And with more than 12 miles of streets and roadways – and approximately 43,000 parking spaces in dozens of garages and surface lots – it presents some significant wayfinding challenges. fd2s developed a comprehensive wayfinding strategy and master plan for the TMC, and the five-year, $10 million implementation of the strategy is currently underway, with fd2s handling design development for all wayfinding components, construction documentation, and supervision of all fabrication and installation.

In developing the wayfinding master plan, fd2s worked very closely with TMC staff, as well as with members of the TMC Ad Hoc Committee on Wayfinding. Members of this committee were briefed regularly on the status of the project, and also participated in a number of work sessions. In addition, fd2s staff also met directly with high-level representatives of TMC member institutions, gathering information about the institutions’ immediate needs and future expansion projects, and generally working to build a consensus for the concepts being developed, which helped to smooth the later efforts to achieve buy-in from all stakeholders.

The wayfinding program detailed in the master plan takes a holistic approach to the challenge of getting users to their TMC destination – beginning before they even leave home – and therefore makes extensive use of non-signage wayfinding tools, such as printed guides and web-based directions. Responding to the ever-changing conditions at the TMC, the system is flexible and infinitely expandable, and is being implemented according to a multi-year phasing plan.

fd2s recently updated the mapping system on the TMC wayfinding website, utilizing Google Maps as a base. This offers additional functionality (such as point-to-point directions and locations of nearby amenities), while also improving accuracy and reducing the need for static, hand-drawn maps.

The underlying logic of the wayfinding system ties particular destinations to landmarks, which take the form of large “numbered entrance” monuments. Directional elements on roadways leading to the Medical Center guide users to these landmarks, and from there more specific wayfinding signage takes them to the appropriate institution entrance.

The project scope also included addressing the brand-building goals of the Medical Center. fd2s created a new TMC positioning line, A Community of Caring, and then developed the approach of using human faces on printed materials and planned campus identification elements to convey this message.

  • Categories: Healthcare
  • Client: Texas Medical Center

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